I watched the Temple Grandin movie the other day. The one where Claire Danes plays Temple. I always liked Claire Danes, ever since My So Called Life back in the early 90's. And I was really impressed with her ability to capture Temple. I've never seen Temple Grandin in person (I hope to some day) but I have read a lot of her books and have seen You Tube videos of her giving talks about autism.
The main thing about the movie for me is this: almost everything I come across regarding autism, all the books and articles and people I have met, almost all of them are about boys with autism. I have hardly met any other mothers of daughters or adult women with autism. Laura, the president of our local ASA is one of the very few exceptions, but her Aspergers is very high functioning and she did not have a speech delay, so I find it hard to look to her as a guide for what will happen to my Tallulah in the future. Temple however did not speak until the age of 4. She had/has eating issues, sensory issues, is super skinny and has lots of quirks, kind of like my Lu. She is also brilliant. She learns to speak, goes to school, has a teacher who tries very hard to understands her, figures out how to reach her, and brings out her brilliance. In short this movie gives me hope. I don't mean to get too hung up on college, because not all kids go to college, it's not right for everyone and it's a real unknown if Lu will ever want to/be able to go, but I guess because college meant so much to me, was really the beginning of me having my own free and independent life, that it has sort of come to represent my hopes and fears for Lu. I keep thinking if we can get her to the point where she can go to college, can handle the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities there, then she really has a chance at an amazing life.
So anyway, Temple Grandin. If you have an autistic child, especially an autistic daughter, or are interested in autism and some of the mental gifts and challenges that can accompany it, this is a pretty decent film to see. It doesn't dwell much on the early difficulties, on the guilt and struggles of the mother, the early schooling that brought on speech, but from college onwards it's really good. And inspirational. And I feel like the filmmakers do a really good job of trying to approximate what goes on in Temple's head. And the most amazing thing about that, is that Temple herself can tell them when they have got it right! So much of the time I wonder what is going on in Tallulah's head and I can't wait until she can really tell me. More than "Want Bullseye" or "Get off!" when she wants her shoes off. I mean what's really going on when she suddenly laughs out of no where. Is she remembering something funny? Or did she just see something funny that I missed? Or when she gets upset out of no where. And all of the inbetween times. Every now and then I have a dream where she is a bit older and we're talking to each other like friends, or like other mothers and daughters talk. Nothing talk, about anything. I can never even remember what we were saying. Just that kind of talk that seems so inconsequential that it's not really even worth remembering exactly what it was and I wake up in tears. Most of my life I've been a pretty easy going person. Not too picky. Fairly easy to please. I can usually roll with the punches and make the best of it. It's hard for me to want something this much. It overwhelms me daily, the desire to hear her really speak. To find out who she really is. Not just inferring and guessing. To have her tell me things I didn't know. To have her surprise me with her insights. She's come so far and is doing so well, but still I get impatient. Watching Temple's movie makes me impatient. I want to look back on this period and talk to her about it. I want to talk to her about what she was thinking and feeling at the time. I want to know we made it through this and out the other side. I want to know once and for all that it really will all be ok. I love you Tallulah. I'm trying hard to be patient.